What Skiers Wear Around Their Necks To Keep Warm? (3 Options)

by Laura Penrose | Updated: September 20th, 2023 |  Skiing Articles

Keeping warm skiing is one of the most important things that you can do to make your time skiing more enjoyable. Often overlooked, keeping your neck warm is just as important as the rest of your extremities. So, what do skiers wear around their necks to keep warm?

There are 3 main ways that skiers keep their necks warm whilst embracing the cold conditions of skiing: neck gaiter, a balaclava, a scarf, or a combination. Even on a warm day the wind-chill can be powerful - so having the right gear to keep warm is essential.

neck warmer

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One of the best things that you can do to improve your time on the slopes is to keep every inch of your body warm. Here, we will go through 3 different items that can be used to keep your neck warm whilst on the slopes.

1. Neck Gaiter or Neck Warmer

One of the most popular options to wear to keep your neck warm is a neck gaiter or neck warmer. Designed to fit comfortably around your neck or be pulled up over your mouth and nose in either a thin (Buff is the original neck gaiter brand and still is a fantastic option) or thicker warmer material.

Is there a difference between a neck gaiter and a neck warmer? In reality, no not really, but for skiing, you are looking for a neck warmer or gaiter that is warm but also light. Buff, is a great brand that has designed its neck gaiters for warm weather conditions (neck warmers) or cold weather conditions (neck gaiters).

The best neck gaiters for keeping your neck warm should be a material that is breathable, light-weight, warm, and moisture-wicking. Materials such as merino wool, fleece, or a synthetic blend make great neck-gaiters. You should avoid cotton fabrics as much as possible as they absorb moisture.

swedish skier
Photo by Kai Hendry licensed under CC BY 2.0

Even with good material, depending on how cold the location where you are skiing is or the humidity, you may experience moisture from your breath building up on the neck gaiter. If it is cold enough, this moisture will freeze. So, you may want to keep a spare neck gaiter to replace at lunchtime if you are frequently pulling your neck gaiter over your mouth and nose.

Depending on where you are in the world, many ski resorts at the moment are requiring face masks to be worn on the lifts (2021/22 season). Using a neck gaiter that can be pulled up over your mouth and nose is a great option as a face-mask alternative.

2. Balaclava

A balaclava (also known as a ski mask) is a great way to cover your neck as well as most of your face while skiing. A balaclava is a piece of clothing that is pulled over your head, covering your head and neck while leaving your eyes exposed and sometimes your nose and mouth depending on the design.

These are usually well-fitted to your head so you should be able to wear a helmet over the top of your balaclava without any discomfort. In addition to keeping your neck warm, a balaclava will also act to help keep your head and ears warm while you are skiing.

Balaclavas not only keep your neck warm but they can also be used to protect your head from wind and keep it warm. It can be a great option if you are needing to also keep your head warm at the same time. A balaclava is also a great option if facemasks are required on the lifts as you can have your nose and mouth covered whilst wearing one.

3. A Simple Scarf

A scarf can be a good option for keeping your neck warm whilst skiing. They are easily accessible pieces of clothing that can be bought from most places that sell clothing and you probably even have one in your closet already.

Scarves also come in various thicknesses so you would have options available depending on how snug and wrapped up you want to feel. In addition, the popularity of scarves means that you could find various materials to wear from cotton to cashmere. However, make sure to keep the ends tucked into your jacket as you don’t want to wear any loose clothing that could potentially get stuck in moving parts on lifts.

How To Keep Your Neck Warm When Skiing or Snowboarding

Ski Victoria
Photo by Roderick Eime licensed under CC BY 2.0

When you are outdoors in winter, it is just as important to keep your neck warm as the rest of your body. The three main options are a neck gaiter/warmer, balaclava, a scarf, or a combination of these three.

Something that I like to do when I am skiing is to wear both a neck gaiter/warmer and a scarf for extra warmth. The neck gaiter is fantastic to pull up over your mouth and nose to keep you warm whilst riding the lift, and the scarf provides another layer of insulation at the top of my jacket. Your experience skiing will be much more pleasurable if you stay warm during your time outside. Keeping your neck and face warm whilst you are skiing is just as important as the rest of your body.